The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) and other state and local partners, is investigating multiple Salmonella illnesses, some of which are linked to Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Mexico.
The FDA is warning consumers to avoid all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas. Grande Produce has informed the FDA that the company initiated a limited recall of their Caribeña brand Maradol papayas distributed nationwide from July 7 - July 18, 2017. As of July 25, 2017, Grande Produce has not issued a press release to notify consumers of their recall. Therefore, FDA is advising consumers to avoid all Caribeña brand Maradol papayas. The FDA also noted that there are illnesses in states where Grande Produce did not distribute papayas and is continuing its investigation.
The FDA is advising consumers not to eat Caribeña brand Maradol papayas because they are linked to an outbreak of salmonellosis. Maradol papayas are green before they ripen and turn yellow, so consumers should not eat Caribeña brand regardless of the color. If anyone has these papayas in their home, they should dispose of them immediately. These can be identified by a red, green and yellow sticker shown here.
Papaya samples taken by MDH from a Baltimore retail location tested positive for the strains of Salmonella Kiambu and Thompson found in ill people.
CDC recommends people should not eat Maradol papayas from Mexico. FDA continues its traceback investigation. At this time, Caribeña brand papayas from Mexico have been identified as a brand linked to these illnesses. Additional brands will be announced as the information becomes available.
What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?
The FDA, CDC, MDH and other state and local officials are investigating Salmonella Kiambu and SalmonellaThompson illnesses linked to Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Mexico distributed by Grande Produce in San Juan, TX.
FDA and state partners continue to investigate the distribution of the papayas involved in this outbreak. It appears the distribution pattern of Caribeña brand Maradol papayas does not explain all of the illnesses, meaning other firms likely have distributed contaminated Maradol papayas as well. At this time, the farm(s) producing these papayas appear to only be in Mexico.
CDC reports 47 cases, 12 hospitalizations and one death from 12 states in the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak. The states involved are IA, KY, LA, MA, MD, MN, NJ, NY, PA, TX, UT and VA. CDC is working to collect additional information to determine whether the recent Salmonella Thompson illness in Maryland is part of this multistate outbreak.
On June 26, 2017, the CDC notified the FDA about a Salmonella Kiambu cluster detected by PulseNet. All 47 cases have the same pattern by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) analysis was conducted on ten patient samples in the outbreak cluster and all were highly related. This indicates that the patients were likely sickened by the same type of food.
MDH informed the FDA, CDC and state partners that several ill people shopped at the same Baltimore retail location and purchased papayas. Records and samples of green and yellow papaya were collected. On July 17, 2017, Maryland reported that three of ten samples had preliminarily tested positive for Salmonella. All positive samples were Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas from Mexico; none of the green papayas were positive. However, as noted above, Maradol papayas are green before they ripen and turn yellow, so consumers should not eat Caribeña brand papayas regardless of the color.
On July 19, 2017, MDH issued an advisory warning consumers not to eat Caribeña brand yellow Maradol papayas. Further WGS testing linked one of the papaya samples to the Salmonella Kiambu outbreak and another to Salmonella Thompson.
FDA, CDC, state, and local health officials are actively investigating the two clusters of illnesses with papaya exposure.
What are the Complications of Salmonella Infections?
In some people, the diarrhea may be so severe that the patient needs to be hospitalized. In these patients, the Salmonella infection may spread from the intestines to the blood stream, and then to other body sites and can cause death unless the person is treated promptly with antibiotics.
Who is at Risk?
Children are the most likely to get salmonellosis. Children younger than five, the elderly, and those people with weakened immune systems are more likely to have severe infections.
Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have served any potentially contaminated papayas need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils. They should follow the steps below:
Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
Regular frequent cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces and utensils used in food preparation may help to minimize the likelihood of cross-contamination.
Consumers should not eat Caribeña brand Maradol papayas from Mexico and should throw away any such products they have in their home. Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer whether they use Caribeña brand Maradol papayas and if so, avoid eating those products. At this time, CDC recommends people should not eat Maradol papayas from Mexico while the traceback investigation is ongoing.
For refrigerators and other food preparation surfaces and food cutting utensils that may have come in contact with the potentially contaminated papayas, it is very important that the consumers thoroughly clean and sanitize these areas and items.
Consumers should follow these simple steps:
Wash the inside walls and shelves of the refrigerator, cutting boards and countertops; then sanitize them with a solution of one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to one gallon of hot water; dry with a clean cloth or new paper towel.
Wash hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food.
Wipe up spills in the refrigerator immediately and clean the refrigerator regularly.
Always wash hands with warm water and soap following the cleaning and sanitization process.
If you think you might have become ill from eating possibly contaminated papayas, talk to your health care provider. Contact your health care provider if you have diarrhea that lasts for more than 3 days, or is accompanied by high fever, blood in the stool, or so much vomiting that you cannot keep liquids down and you pass very little urine.
The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Time, or to consult the fda.gov website: http://www.fda.gov.